Most Used Drug is Caffeine?


Coffee compilation

Sophie R.M Downs 10th grader she/her, Staffer

Do you or someone you know like to enjoy a nice cup of coffee? Perhaps a Starbucks latte in the morning before work or school, maybe an energy drink to get you through the day, even tea before bed? All of these things contain caffeine, which is completely fine in moderation, but add all three together and you’re looking at anywhere from 450-700+ mg of caffeine a day!

A singular blonde shot of espresso from Starbucks contains 85 mg of caffeine. Popular drinks (sized venti for example) such as the iced caramel macchiatolatte, or the white chocolate mocha each contain 3 shots. That alone is almost 300 mg, not including the syrups that will be added in.

An article on caffeine done by the U.S Food and Drug Administration concludes that, “For healthy adults, the FDA has cited 400 milligrams (mg) a day.” Although that might seem like a lot, caffeine is hidden in a multitude of other things besides coffees, teas, or energy drinks; things you most likely consume daily without even thinking about it!

A training Starbucks barista

Popular items such as dark chocolate, hot chocolate, and even “decaf” coffees, teas, or sodas contain caffeine. Decaffeinated just means less caffeine, so if you are sensitive to its effects, it’s worth reading more here!

It’s important to note that just because an item isn’t advertised as “energy-boosting,” or “caffeinated,” doesn’t promise there’s no caffeine.

If we were to talk about drug use, caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the entire world. There are multiple studies done on caffeine withdrawal and how it can become an addiction without us even realizing it. “Unlike other psychoactive drugs, it is legal, cheap, and not regulated in almost all parts of the world.”

But what is a psychoactive drug? An interesting word isn’t it? “Psychoactive drugs are substances that, when taken in or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes, e.g. perception, consciousness, cognition or mood and emotions.” When we take a deeper look at people we know when they haven’t had their coffee yet, it isn’t difficult to see the role caffeine plays in their mood. Many people feel as though their access to caffeine dictates how their day will go. “I see people who have to drink coffee and it reminds me of people addicted to drugs or alcohol.” Says Cheree P., Starbucks manager.

How does caffeine affect students? A story done by Minnetonka High School talks about how students have incorporated caffeine into their daily routine. “As of 2020, 50% of adolescents consume energy drinks and 31% consume caffeine on a regular basis.” Another article done by Amy Morin on how caffeine affects teenagers goes on to say, “Caffeine is a stimulant drug that excites the central nervous system. Drinking too much can make you nervous and restless.”

To add fuel to the fire, Starbucks is the largest coffee company in the world. With more than 34,000 locations worldwide, not only is the company surpassing popular food chains such as McDonald’s and Subway, but also brings in roughly $15 billion dollars a year. $15 billion dollars worth of coffee, teas, or other sugary drinks are sold every year by one company alone. “My average Starbucks trip count is three daily.” States Liv, a 10th grader at Kamiak High school.

“My daily mood tends to be happier when I have caffeine, but I also get stressed out and it isn’t very helpful with my anxiety; but when I don’t have anything, I get physically sick.” -Liv.